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Wednesday, May 9, 2012

All Paws on Deck

When we first bought our house, the deck that came with it was in pretty bad shape; it looked like it hadn't been cleaned, stained or preserved in years. Since then, we've had to replace boards about every two years or so, as they crack and split from the years of neglect.

This was one of those years where the boards needed replacing.

We have a contractor we've used in the past, one who understands our animals and their issues. Bill worked on our basement when it was being redone, and was so patient back then when Lilah still got scared when anything new was brought into the house. That mean nearly every tool, sheet rock panel or piece of wiring had to be gently shown to Lilah so she could touch it with her nose and feel safe. (You can learn more about Lilah overcoming her fears in the post I wrote entitled Lilah Becoming Brave.)

Now Lilah only barks at really big things when they come in the house; otherwise, she's pretty chill. Of course, both she and Jasper remember Bill and absolutely adore him. Jasper can barely control himself; he wags so hard when Bill comes to work on the house that his whole body writhes with joy.

It's not hard to imagine the excitement when Bill came to work on the deck.  Everyone had to get his or her nose into the business. Well, everyone except Dawn, who hid under the bed when it got noisy outside.

Dawn, in her Underbed Cave, trying to feel safe.

Jasper really wants to kiss Bill. Lilah and Tucker behave a little better, waiting their turns to greet him.

The first step was to remove the bad boards, which took about a day. At first, I took the dogs through the garage into the back yard, keeping them on leashes; I was pretty sure they would not expect gaping holes in the floor and I wanted to control their introduction to the deck. I let them up one at a time, and when they looked comfortable and I thought they understood the holes, I took their leashes off. I felt it would be a good exercise in being introduced to something new.

They all took to it pretty well. First Tucker, then Jasper, then Lilah, who was a little unsure at first, but got the hang of it quite fast.

Jasper and Tucker walk the planks.

Lilah cautiously joins Tucker and Jasper.

Tucker finds just the right board to still be able to look out through the rail.

For some reason, everyone has to look down below the deck.

Lilah inspects belowdeck.

Jasper looks into the depths.
Tucker takes a look as well.

By now it was time to replace the missing boards, and of course the dogs--and Athena--helped with the task.

Athena supervises from the safety of the kitchen.

Jasper makes sure the tools are in working order.

Tucker and Jasper oversee some of the installation.

Once the boards are all replaced, Bill and Milton powerwashed the deck, so they can apply the paint/stain.

And of course, Athena kept watch on the progress of that task as well.

Athena needed to get a little height to make sure she could oversee everything as Bill uses the powerwasher.

Thank goodness Bill and Milton are dog people. I'm not sure other contractors would be so patient.

Now all we need is three days without rain for the deck to dry, to enable it to be stained. It's been two weeks and we haven't had that many sunny days in a row yet. I know there was a drought and the rain is a good thing, but I'd really like to have my deck back and to be able to plant my flowers for the year.

And we have lots of time with Bill coming up, as remodeling the kitchen and family room are next on the list.

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